After a false start with the late '80s vocal group Maniquin, Kenny Lattimore became a minor urban R&B star in his own right in 1996, when his eponymous debut album generated two hit singles. Lattimore was born and raised in Washington, D.C., where he grew up in a musical family. Before he reached his teens, he was winning talent shows at his junior high school. Throughout high school he performed music, from classical to R&B. Despite his love for music, he decided to pursue architecture and city planning when he enrolled at Howard University. Even though he wasn't majoring in music, he hadn't given it up as a hobby, and he joined the vocal group Maniquin. In 1987, the group signed with Epic, and two years later, they released their debut album. The record failed to become a hit, and the group sweated it out on the grueling chitlin circuit down south. After a year of touring, Lattimore left Maniquin in 1990
He had decided that he would continue to pursue music, and began writing songs and collaborating with a number of artists. His songs were recorded by Glenn Jones and Jon Lucien, and he began working with Dem Twinzz, singing on the group's demos. The tapes attracted the interest of major labels, but Lattimore wanted to be a solo artist, not part of a group, so he moved to New York City in 1993.